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Velez, Lupe (1908-1944)

Velez, Lupe (1908-1944)

Lupe Velez was "the Mexican Spitfire" in a series of successful films in the late 1930s and early 1940s with RKO Studios. Despite her screen charisma and gift for comedy, Velez is best remembered for her tumultuous love life. She had turbulent and often violent relationships with actor Gary Cooper and the movies' most famous Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller, to whom she was married for five years. A former nightclub performer, her first appearance in a full-length film was opposite Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. in The Gaucho (1927). By the 1940s moviegoers' tastes had begun to change and Velez's star began to fade. She became pregnant by bit player Harald Raymond who would not marry her. A devout Catholic, Velez would not have an abortion and Hollywood of that era would not tolerate an unwed mother. She took what she felt was the only way out and committed suicide in 1944.

—Jill A. Gregg

Further Reading:

Conner, Floyd. Lupe Velez and Her Lovers. New York, Barricade Books, 1993.

Shipman, David. Great Movie Stars: The Golden Years. London, Warner Books, 1989.

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